In a word, summertime in Madrid is HOT. No, wait…it’s more than that. It’s Dante’s Inferno HOT. It’s seek precious shade while you’re waiting at the crosswalk HOT. It’s oppressive enough to make you somehow justify the fact that you haven’t left the house all day (ahem…or longer) for fear that fire-breathing monster in the sky will scorch your vulnerable, defenseless white skin the moment it spots you walking down the sidewalk. No thank you. “Besides,” I think to myself, “I still have a box or two to unpack and there’s another episode of Criminal Minds on the tube. Exploring can wait another day.” But alas, you reach a point when you have to face the beast. Holing up in your now perfectly organized apartment, which no longer serves as your excuse to relish in the air conditioned indoors, now just makes you feel lazy. It’s time to venture into the great big city. Sun or no sun. Heat or no heat. You must embrace what awaits you – the sweat, the thirst, and the extreme energy drain that comes at the end of a long battle with soaring temperatures. Bring it on. Besides, now I need an excuse to stave off studying for my driving exam. 😉
One as pasty white as I mustn’t set off on a neighborhood walkabout without taking the necessary precautions. By the time I’ve made the decision to leave the creature comforts of home, it’s midday and at least 100 degrees outside. The sun and heat are ready to do battle so I must be prepared. Armed with a map (wrong turns could result in an unnecessary drain on energy and precious hydration), a dab of SPF, sunglasses, some water, and my camera (my weapon of choice), I take to the streets. My mission: discover our new barrio, Salamanca. As I rounded corners and wandered the streets, I realized after some time that either I had misunderstood the blazing beast or I was well prepared for my walkabout. Either way I had lost myself in Salamanca’s beautiful avenues and shady, treelined sidestreets. Wielding my camera at the cafe terraces, the shopfront awnings, the glass enclosed sunrooms, and the carefully arranged window displays all created a very effective distraction from the summer temperatures. Even Mother Nature had mercy and blew a steady breeze. Before I knew it, nearly three hours had passed and I had walked every corner of this beautiful barrio.
Later, while recovering from a loss of energy and dehydration (yes, the heat scored a point), I felt quite content with our new digs. Despite the heat and sheer exhaustion, I felt relaxed having gotten acquainted with the ‘hood we now call home.
|The many faces of Salamanca|
|I can look, but I can’t touch!|